How Building Article Links Damages Your Rankings

Writing good articles and submitting them to article distribution networks and directories was once an excellent white hat link-building tool.  The best results from Article Distribution were via manual placement of your articles in Article Directory/distribution sites.

Article distribution enabled you to gain two links per placement across multiple Article Distribution services. It also garnered a steadily increasing number of links as other webmasters used your article and linked back to the source of the article’s content.

This was how Article Placement worked;

  1. Create the article
  2. Choose the article submission package that suits your needs.
  3. Write an Author’s Bio containing two links to appropriate internal pages of your site
  4. Insert the article and required details into the chosen distribution networks.

Due to this being an entirely manual process, it usually took approx a few days to complete the task. Whilst it’s a straightforward undertaking, it’s also one that had the potential to deliver significant increases in;

  • Visitor Traffic
  • Search engine rankings
  • Backlinks as the article/s attracted more and more readers.

Note that this is not something a reputable local SEO company does these days. Even black hat SEO practitioners know it is not on the list of best practices.

Even before Google’s drastic counterinsurgency on link-building techniques in 2012, it was important to;

  • Carefully select only the highest-quality distribution sites
  • Produce unique, original articles of 500+ words

How the Google Penguin Attacked Article Link Building

Since 2012, Google has launched a series of initiatives aimed at penalising participation in link-building schemes. A natural link profile is important now that any activity designed to artificially boost rankings has been declared manipulative. It is now against Google’s Terms of Service and webmaster guidelines!

Article Links: Google’s latest Link Schemes document addresses these specifically;

The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results

  • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site
  • Low-grade Press release networks

Many article marketing sites have been de-indexed by Google. Having links from distribution networks is far more likely to earn you severe penalties than ranking rewards! In general, search engine optimization packages should not include article link building. It is specifically warned against in Google’s Terms of Service and webmaster guidelines.

If you have built links using article distribution in the past, it’s very likely to have come back to haunt you! Here’s what Google say;

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

Google specifically mentioned “Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links” as being included within the above scenario. Cautiously acquiring citation links on reputable sites is the safest option.

A reputable SEO services consultant will not advise you to distribute articles to build links!



Article link removal is a complex and tedious process. You will find it goes better with professional and experienced assistance. Get in touch with us for an SEO audit analysis and we can quantify the scale of the problem for you and the Penguin penalty reversal rates that apply to resolve it….

Page last updated on Thursday, October 12, 2023 by the author Ben Kemp